“165 years today since UniSyd’s inauguration! We’re celebrating by going through old pics – like this one, from when cows roamed the front lawns!” the University of Sydney, via Twitter yesterday. They just go wild at UniSyd.

There’s more in the Mail

How do students decide which rankings to read? Find out in David Myton‘s round-up of the higher education world’s week

More international ed initiatives

Following yesterday’s ELICOS student quality reform the government’s Council for International Education is expected to establish two new working groups tomorrow. One will focus on student service delivery and the other “national consistency” in marketing and collaboration. Education Minister Simon Birmingham says the second round of Enabling Growth and Innovation project funding for the international education industry is also about to open.

Second DVC goes at UniSydney

Tyrone Carlin will step down as DVC Registrar at the end of the year. Professor Carlin will return to his substantive professorial position in the university’s business school. Last night Vice Chancellor Michael Spence told staff he had accepted Carlin’s resignationwith regret.’

“He has made a wide range of significant contributions to the university, including leadership of the transformation of our student administration.”

The university will split Professor Carlin’s portfolio among three executives “on an interim basis.” This is another major career move by Professor Carlin, following his May resignation as president of accounting organisation CPA Australia.

Carlin is the second DVC to go in less than two months. DVC Indigenous Shane Houston’s sudden departure in August continues the subject of much campus speculation.

Articles of achievement: The 2017 NTU journal ranking

Today’s ranking is from the National Taiwan University, which ranks universities by number of articles published, citations, H index, highly cited papers and current-year articles in high-ranking journals. Anomalies? Undoubtedly. Gameable? No doubt. But as rankings expert Andrejs Rauvargers writes, “it deliberately uses publication and citation indicators only; therefore, data is reliable.” And it makes a change from ratings that sum people’s opinions.

The top of the NTU rating is certainly different, albeit not much, to the global ranking norm, with some US universities that do not appear in the standard first twenty. While Harvard is first in the world overall it is followed by, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Toronto, Oxford, Washington-Seattle, MIT=Michigan-Ann Arbor, UCal-Berkeley and UC-London.


The ANZ performers are: UniMelbourne (29), UniSydney (33), UofQueensland (=41), Monash U (61), UNSW (71), UWA (=129), ANU (142), UniAdelaide (154), UniAuckland (229), UniOtago (289), Walter and Eliza Hall, (306), Curtin U (366), Griffith U (366), Macquarie U (=372), QUT (=372), Deakin U (=386), UniNewcastle (=386), UniWollongong (392), James Cook U (401), UTas (422), Flinders U (473), UniSA (=478), UTS (=478), LaTrobe U (501=600), RMIT (501-600), Swinburne (501-600), UniCanterbury (501-600) Western Sydney U (501-600), Massey U (601-700), Murdoch U (701-800) and Victoria U of Wellington (701-800)


Last year the Australian universities in the top 100 were, UniMelb 31UniSydney 38, UniQueensland 43, Monash 70, UNSW 86. The rest of the Group of Eight followed, UWA 134, ANU 160 and UniAdelaide 162.


The world top 100 ratings by broad field for this year and last are (have a look at natural sciences):


AGRICULTURE 2017: UoQ (5), UWA (27), UniMelb (33), ANU (41), UniSydney (47), James Cook U (48), UniAdelaide (53), UNSW (63), and UTas (89)

AGRICULTURE 2016: UoQ (7), UWA (29), UniMelb (35), James Cook U (42), ANU (47) UniSyd (50) UniAdelaide (51) UNSW (69) UniTas (87)


CLINICAL MEDICINE 2017: UniSydney (23), UniMelb (29), Monash U (65), UoQ (68), UNSW (84)

CLINICAL MEDICINE 2016: UniSyd (27), UniMelb (33) Monash U (69), UofQ 79, UNSW 95,


ENGINERING 2017: UNSW (40), MonashU (58), UoQ (72)

ENGINEERING 2016: NSW (46), MonashU (58) UoQ (64)


LIFE SCIENCES 2017: UniMelb (25), UoQ (39), UniSydney (54), Monash U (55), UNSW (79)

LIFE SCIENCES 2016: UniMelbourne (25) UoQ (41) Monash U (56) UniSyd (69) UNSW (90)


NATURAL SCIENCES 2017: UNSW (80), UniMelb (82), ANU (83), Monash U (92)



SOCIAL SCIENCES 2017: UniSydney (=23), UoQ (=23), UniMelbourne (28), Monash U (49), UNSW (55), ANU (85), Deakin U (88)

SOCIAL SCIENCES 2016: UoQ (25), UniMelbourne (29), UniSyd (31) Monash U (46) UNSW (57) ANU (79), Deakin (100)

Mind the mindfulness at Charles Sturt U

Stressed about what Simon Birmingham wants to do to your budget? Keep calm with a  graduate certificate of applied mindfulness from Charles Sturt University. ”Be at the forefront of this emerging therapy for a range of physical and psychological conditions.” Including, no doubt, Birmophobia.

HEA expands again

The UK Higher Education Academy continues its Australian expansion. HEA staff were in Australia at the beginning of the year and since then the independent accrediting organisation has increased engaging. This week Philip Crowther from QUT (an original HEA Aus affiliate) became the 7000th senior fellow.

Now Macquarie U announces 40 academic and professional staff will pilot HEA fellowships, with “a formal launch” next year.

We’ve tried this before

The Central Planning Prize of the day goes to the Department of Education and Training, which will be back in the prediction business if the government plan for sub degree places in universities gets up. The discussion paper proposes allocating them on the basis of some sensible criteria, industry consultation, professional body approval, work experience/integrated learning etc. And one not so sensible; “the course relates to emerging industries or occupations, where related industries are not yet mature but are strategically important for the economy. Initially this will include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses.” Until the ‘80s government used to run workforce and industry policy by predicting the future, and didn’t that work well.

Brace, brace, brace

The Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (A More Sustainable, Responsive and Transparent Higher Education System) Bill 2017 is on the Senate legislation programme for Wednesday.

Real-life ratings for real-world Aus cities

Australian cities world-leading smugness rankings are at risk with new research suggesting that life in the big smokes is not as flash as all those most liveable city scores suggest. Jonathan Arundel from RMIT and colleagues from his university, Australian Catholic U and UWA (with help from a bunch of others) have assessed “evidence-based national liveability indicators.” Using indicators, including walking-distance, community, public transport, public open space, housing affordability and employment they find that for many city-life is not so flash.

“Australian cities are generally regarded, by international standards, as very liveable. Yet significant work remains to be done. One important task will be to remove well-recognised inequities within and between Australian cities in the provision of infrastructure and services that create liveable communities,” they write.

The research breaks down the per centage of households in cities across the country with access to services. Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney do best for access to a public transport stop but buy a car if you are in Darwin or Canberra. It shows the per centage of households in the bottom 40 per cent of incomes spending 30 per cent or more of household income on housing ranges from 31.07 per cent in Hobart to 38 per cent in Sydney. And it sets out households with 1km of a supermarket, which is 16.8 per cent in Darwin and 40.7 per cent in Sydney.

There is much more, making this way-more accurate a guide to city living than the sushi and champagne indexes used by international recruiters to set CEO pay rates.

“Overall, no Australian city performed well on all indicators of policy implementation or national liveability, with some cities performing better on some indicators and weaker on others,” they conclude.

If the Australian Research Council is looking for a benchmark for applied social research this will do it.

Working with what she has (still) got

Deakin U did its best to offload the Warrnambool campus, which it could not attract enough students to. But when there were no takers back in 2016 VC Jane den Hollander committed to having another go. And so she is. For example, Deakin U yesterday announcing a food and agribusiness major for the B Comm at Warrnambool. If that does not work in Warrnambool it is hard imagine what will.


Healthy giving

A big reason why governments spend up on medical research is Australians love health-related causes. We donated $1.96bn to them last year, making health the third category for individual giving, after religion ($3.197bn) and international aid ($2.108bn). In contrast, education and research receive 22 per cent of business giving, with causes receiving 12 per cent of individual’s money. The figures are in Miles McGregor-Lowndes and Marie Critall’s, An Examination of Tax-Deductible Donations Made By Individual Australian Taxpayers in 2014–15, for QUT.

Heads Up: achievers at work this week

David Buckingham is the incoming head of Navitas. He will succeed founder Rod Jones, taking of over as group CEO in March and managing director next June. Mr Jones will take a year off before becoming a non executive director.

Flinders U ecologist Corey Bradshaw is the 2017 Verco medallist. The Royal Society of South Australia issues the award for significant contribution to science. Professor Bradshaw’s work includes simulation models to “understand and mitigate” global ecology changes.

The Council for the Humanities Arts and Social Sciences has announced the winner of its Australia Prizes. The book award goes to Elizabeth Tynan for Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story. The Zest Festival 2012-16,( contributors Jacqueline Van Gent, Susan Broomhall, Rebecca Millar, Erika von Kaschke, Elizabeth Reid, Melissa Kirkham, Jane Davidson) won the Distinctive Work award.  Laura Rademaker and Lisa Walton jointly won the future leader award. Camille Roulière from the University of Adelaide won the student award.

Lobby Research Australia has announced its annual health and medical research award winners including:

Discovery AwardAvnika Ruparilia (Monash U) for research into muscle disorders

Health Services Research AwardANZ Hip Fracture Registry (Jacqueline Close and Ian Harris)

Data Innovation AwardHelmut Butzkueven (University of Melbourne) for the MsBase Foundation international register of multiple sclerosis patients

Peter Wills MedalKim Mulholland (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) for an outstanding contribution in medical and health research

Research Excellence AwardTim Hughes (South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute) Leukemia research

Herbert W Marsh from the Australian Catholic University has won the Australian Psychological Society’Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award. Rather making the point he is also, (as far as CMM can discover) the first Australian based researcher to have an H Index of 15o @ Google Scholar (number of papers by the number of times cited).

Michael Kyrios will become executive dean of Flinders U’s new college of education, psychology and social work in February.

Todd Walker is leaving Federation U, where he is DVC Engagement to become provost at the University of New EnglandJoyce Kirk is now interim provost there.

With news that education exports earn $28bn the time is right for the International Education Association of Australia to announce its 2017 Excellence Awards, including:

Distinguished Contribution to IE: Helen Zimmerman from Navitas

Leadership in IE: Rebecca Hall, Trade and Investment Queensland.

Innovation in IE: Karyn Kent, Study Adelaide.

The UK Higher Education Academy (“transforming teaching, inspiring learning”) has announced its 7000th senior fellow, QUT architecture aspro Philip Crowther.

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering has elected 25 new fellows:

Julie Beeby, chair, Powerlink Queensland

Lachlan Blackhall, chief technology officer, Reposit Power

Peter Corke, Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, (QUT)

Graham Currie, professor of public transport, Monash University

Rocky de Nys, professor of aquaculture, James Cook University

Bronwyn Fox, director of Manufacturing Futures Research Institute, Swinburne University

Steven Frisken, CEO, Cylite (med tech manufacturing)

Ewa Goldys, deputy director ARC Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, Macquarie University

Kourosh Kayvani, global director Aurecon (engineering)

Mark Kendall, professor bioengineering and nanotechnology, University of Queensland

Linda Kristjanson, VC, Swinburne

Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, MD Gekko Systems (gold and silver processing technology)

Tony Lindsay, director, STELaRLab Lockheed Martin (defence technology)

Xiaoling Liu, director, Newcrest Mining

John Mattick, executive director, Garvan Institute

Ravendra Naidu, CEO, CRC for containment assessment

Tony Peacock, CEO, CRC Association

Brett Phillips, director Cardno (water engineering)

Laura Poole-Warren, PVC research training, UNSW

Andrew Potts, CEO, AMOG Group, (engineering consultancy)

Michael Quigley, adjunct professor, UTS (telecommunications engineering)

Anthony Radford, director, IMNIS (biotech entrepreneur)

Sarah Ryan, director, Woodside Petroleum

Skipp Williamson, MD, Partners in Performance (management consultancy)

Peter Yates, deputy chair, Myer Family Investments